French doors offer an excellent means of opening out an interior. They consist of a set of double doors, each equipped with one or more glass panels, which help light to spread around a home and create the greatest possible impression of space.
But if your household contains small children, then French doors have the potential to cause harm – especially when curious fingers go wandering into the space between the frame and side of the door. Trapped appendages can cause tears (and in some cases even visits to the doctors) and so it’s worth exploring ways to guard your child against the danger. This is especially so if your French Doors are sited in a draughty area of the house, where strong gusts might cause them to suddenly slam shut.
You might wish to prevent your child from moving from one side of a door to another. If your French doors open into an office, bedroom or other out-of-bounds area, it might be desirable to keep them locked from the inside.
In contrast with single doors, sets of double doors cannot be locked into the frame – and must instead be locked into the floor or ceiling. If your set of internal French doors doesn’t come equipped with such a device, however, then never fear – parents have had to contend with explorative toddlers for a long while now, and they’ve devised a number of ingenious DIY solutions. By the same token, many small (and large) businesses have come up with professional-grade inventions to combat the problem.
Perhaps the most obvious way of child-proofing a door is to place some object in front of it – either to prevent it from opening, or to prevent it from closing. In the latter instance, any sufficiently heavy object will do – weights with soft edges can be purchased inexpensively, and they’ll reduce the chances of your child encountering a pointy edge at floor level. If you’re looking to wedge a door open or shut, on the other hand, then you’ll want to consider a stop that’s appropriately wedge-shaped.
A pinch guard is designed to prevent your child from trapping their hands in a door. It consists of a u-shaped piece of foam, plastic or rubber that sits around the edge of a door, preventing it from properly closing (and therefore preventing it from closing on your child’s digits).
As well as protecting fingers and thumbs, a pinch guard also confers an added bonus: it will prevent the door from slamming. This solution is one that carries a number of disadvantages, however – since it’ll prevent the door in question from closing properly, it’s suitable only for areas of the house you want your child to be able to access. It should not, for example, be employed on a front or back door – as this will cause your house to become hideously energy inefficient, and will allow your child to escape out into the world.
If you’d like to take things a stage further, then you might consider the ‘door monkey’, or similar device. These contraptions will not only prevent a door from closing, but it’ll prevent it from opening, too – creating an obstacle but still allowing fresh air to flow through your home. It’ll withstand around twenty kilos of force – far more, in other words, than even the strongest child can exert.
A child’s brain is an amazing thing. It quickly builds new connections in response to its interactions with the world around it, rapidly learning how to apply the right twists, prods and pulls in order to achieve the desired outcome. Since they learn so quickly, it can be difficult for parents to stay ahead of the game – especially as you might not be around when they make their next breakthrough.
A simple door handle, for example, might prove an insurmountable obstacle one day – and then literal child’s play the next. Lever-style door handles are easier for a child to figure out than doorknobs, but either can be overcome. In order to make your door handles that little bit more childproof, you might make use of a special plastic cover. These come in a number of different forms, but most are built to work only when a certain combination of pressure is applied.
Some thrifty parents have gone as far as to build their own doorknob protectors out of cardboard, which sits loosely around the knob and simply twists uselessly unless sufficient force is applied. We think it’s worth investing the few pounds in a professionally-made version – it’ll provide you with that little bit more peace of mind, and it’ll look considerably better, too.
While each of these devices has their plus points, there are two drawbacks shared by each of them. They each cost money, and they each have an impact on the way your home looks. To be sure, this will true to differing extents depending on the product in question. Whichever your preferred option, you’ll want to consider how much utility you’re going to get from it. Since all children are different, they’ll be impeded to different extents by the measures we’ve discussed – and you’ll want to account for this when you make your decision.
When considering how to child-proof your door, your first concern should be ensuring that the door isn’t going to injure your child. After that objective has been achieved, you’ll want to also consider another factor – your own convenience.
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